cru·ci·ble – noun
1. a container of metal or refractory material employed for heating substances to high temperatures.
2. Metallurgy . a hollow area at the bottom of a furnace in which the metal collects.
3. a severe, searching test or trial
(stay with me)
Matthew 26: 69-75
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said.
But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.
Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth."
He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!"
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away."
Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!"
Immediately a rooster crowed.
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.
I think we all have read these verses before, but I never thought of it as being Peter's crucible. It was his ultimate test of faith. His test of how committed he actually was to Jesus. Would Peter stand up for Jesus? Was Peter really willing to die for him? vs 35 But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same.
Being a disciple of Christ is not about your name being on a church role. It's not about attending Sunday school. It's not about identifying yourself as a Christian. Being a disciple is not an easy task, as Peter could certainly attest.
Being a true disciple of Christ is about defending the truth, defending Jesus and His word, when it can be the hardest thing to do. We are called to oppose what is wrong in the world and that certainly is not the popular thing to do. We are called to spread the love of Jesus - to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Even when they repeatedly back in to your mailbox and yet, even when you hear their apparent sailor cousin in town through the fence.)
We are not to deny Jesus as Peter did when times get tough and our lives, or even less, our reputation and humility are at risk. As followers of Christ, we will at some point pass through a difficult test of our commitment to Christ. Will we get a passing grade? Or fail after 3 chances?
God sometimes puts us through a crucible to show us where we need improvement . He refines us as gold, for His good works. It also shows us that we can not stand alone. We have to rely on Christ, the solid rock to get us through ALL THINGS. We have to fully trust, (as frightening as that is), not in our own strength, but in His.
Peter failed his initial test, but Jesus restored him for His own good. Peter 3 times turned his back on Jesus, but Jesus saw in Peter the possible, the attainable, the acheivable disciple that he could be.
We are to love Jesus will all that we have. We can not possibly love Him as He loves us, we just are called to love Him the best we can. He can see what we can attain and acheive through Him. For Him.